The Euclid Quartet presents American Quartets, featuring Dvořák's beloved "American" Quartet and the jazz-infused "At the Octoroon Balls," the first quartet by Pulitzer Prize and GRAMMY® Award winning American trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis. The new album contains two quintessential works composed nearly a century apart: the beloved "American" String Quartet No. 12 in F Major, Op. 96 (1893) by Antonín Dvořák, and 'At the Octoroon Balls" - String Quartet No. 1 (1995) by Pulitzer Prize and GRAMMY® Award winning American trumpeter, composer, founder and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Wynton Marsalis.
Euclid's first violinist Jameson Cooper says, “We first started playing the Marsalis when we received a grant award from the National Endowment for the Arts to create an educational program about the different ethnic and cultural influences in American music. The Marsalis was a great choice to represent African-American music. It fuses jazz, blues, fiddling and other popular styles with classical music. The resulting work is music of incredible energy, charm, beauty and humor. It became one of our signature pieces. The Dvořák is one of the most recognized works for string quartet, written in America’s heartland in rural Iowa. Like the Marsalis, the music is an ‘American’ melting pot of numerous styles and influences.”
Marsalis composed "At the Octoroon Balls" in 1995 at the invitation of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The composer named it after his hometown of New Orleans’ legendary eighteenth and nineteenth century balls, which were given as a way to facilitate illicit long-term relationships between wealthy white men usually fair skinned women of color. Regarding the work, BBC Music Magazine wrote, “the music has a thrilling urgency and power… Marsalis has enlarged the soundscape of the string quartet and its emotional scope.”
Afinat Records is a new boutique record label launched in 2016 as a labor of love by classical industry impresario and producer, R. Lee Streby, in 2016. The label’s name ‘afinat’ is a Catalan word meaning ‘in tune’. Afinat Records seeks to release simply great music that finds itself "in tune" with listeners around the world. Afinat brings focus to each release by growing slowly, one project at a time.